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Behind the Lines
The Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General is examining potential damaging effects of proposed air emission trading programs on poor and minority communities, according to documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
A major unresolved concern about Bush administration plans to expand trading is that emission "credit" purchasers will likely be concentrated in poor, urbanized areas, creating toxic hot spots of clustered polluters who have paid for the right to exceed air quality limits.
In a May memo, the Inspector General announced that it would conduct "an evaluation of impacts of emission trading in potential environmental justice communities."
The expanded Inspector General review comes at a time when Bush administration trading plans are at a crossroads. New Jersey's proposal to conduct "open market" trading -- trading between different pollution sources and between different economic sectors -- has collapsed following the surrender of nearly all of the credits in the market as part of an enforcement action against the utility, PSEG Fossil, Inc. In April, PEER revealed that the bulk of pollution credits generated in Michigan, also seeking open market trading authority, were the result of plant closures, not improved pollution controls.
At the same time, Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative features a dramatic expansion of more traditional "cap and trade" activity. The EPA also recently proposed new water pollution trading authority for states.
"The Bush administration's romance with these supposedly ëinnovative' market-based schemes masks its distaste for old-fashioned enforcement against pollution violators and for verifiable public health protections," says PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "The Inspector General's review signals a growing concern that the communities already in peril from pollution will again be the losers in a new game of corporate emissions trading."
Philip Morris's youth anti-smoking ads make it more likely that kids will smoke in the future.
That is according to a May report from the American Legacy Foundation. Legacy, which was founded as an outgrowth of the U.S. states' settlement of their litigation against the tobacco companies, urged Philip Morris to pull its ads off the air and stop undermining Legacy's anti-smoking campaign.
"The results are in and the evidence is clear," says Cheryl Healton, Legacy's president and CEO. "Philip Morris's ëThink. Don't Smoke' effort parades as a youth anti-smoking campaign, but it's really a wolf in sheep's clothing. Philip Morris should pull its ads off the air."
Legacy's research, featured in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), showed that exposure to Philip Morris's ads produced a statistically significant decrease in several anti-tobacco attitudes among 12- to 17-year-olds, increasing the youths' future likelihood of smoking.
Viewing the ads made youth less likely to believe that cigarette companies deny that cigarettes cause harmful diseases and less likely to say that they want cigarette companies to go out of business in the future.
The research found that nonsmoking 12- to 17-year-olds exposed to Philip Morris's ads were also more likely to say that they intend to smoke in the future.
By contrast, the study showed that, after only 10 months, exposure to the Truth campaign, the Legacy anti-smoking campaign, reduced teens' future likelihood of smoking. The proportion of youth who agreed that "taking a stand against tobacco is important to me" increased from 72 to 83 percent, while the percent who agreed that they want to be involved in efforts to get rid of smoking went from 65 to 82 percent.
The Legacy campaign builds on extensive experience showing that hard-hitting ads demonstrating how the tobacco industry seeks to manipulate youth can change youth attitudes and reduce youth smoking.
New Zealand's Worst
Carter Holt Harvey has nabbed the 2001 Roger Award, a notorious award for worst multinational corporation operating in New Zealand. Carter Holt Harvey is an Australian/New Zealand pulp and paper company that is majority owned by the U.S. company International Paper.
The Roger is awarded by a panel of judges made up of prominent citizens, and administered by CAFCA, the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (Aotearoa is the indigenous name for New Zealand) and GATT Watchdog.
"The range of negative impacts on New Zealanders for which [Carter Holt Harvey] is responsible makes the forestry giant deserved winners," the judges said in announcing their decision.
"It has unashamedly over many years acted to subdue its workforce and damage their conditions, bringing in scab labor, and destroying the social and economic fabric of small towns dependent on their enterprise," the judges said, highlighting especially efforts by the company in 2001 to contract out stevedoring operations.
"Damage to the environment, physical and social, is also a feature of many of Carter Holt Harvey's activities," the judges further stated, "from driving logging trucks through residential areas, through erosion and silting up of fishing grounds, to continued use of dioxin producing chlorine bleaching processes." Carter Holt Harvey's are the only New Zealand mills still using chlorine bleaching, according to the judges.